The pandemic has magnified our nation’s failure to provide robust assistance for children and families in times of crisis. COVID-19 has also laid bare the systemic economic, social, and racial inequities embedded in our unjust systems. Today, communities of color are bearing the brunt of the fatal impacts of these injustices. People of color are more likely to have lost jobs due to COVID, are dying at more rapid rates compared to their white counterparts, and are more likely to live in poverty. As new research shows that the pandemic could cause child poverty rates to rise by 53 percent, especially for children of color, Congress must act now. Authorizing and expanding a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund and making long-term changes to the TANF block grant are more important than ever to make sure children and families can survive this crisis. Families should not have to worry where their next meal will come from or face harsh requirements that were impossible to meet even before this pandemic.
We urge USDA to use its full authority to quickly extend the rest of the nationwide waivers, and state-specific waivers such as area eligibility, until September 30, 2020, or at least August 31, 2020. Extending the waivers is not only in the interest of public health, it also provides consistency for families and eases the administrative burden on state child nutrition agencies and FNS staff. The urgency of extending these waivers now cannot be understated as schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofits are making decisions today about whether or not they will continue to operate these programs this summer.
This pandemic has laid bare the catastrophic consequences of our nation’s failure to address hunger and poverty, especially for our children.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the consequences of allowing so many children and families in America to live in poverty. Expanding and increasing the Child Tax Credit and creating a new Young Child Tax Credit will help reduce rapidly rising child poverty, provide meaningful assistance for working families, and help stabilize the economy during and beyond this pandemic.
If enacted, the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” would provide states, localities, territories, and tribes with flexible resources to provide direct support to households in need with short- and medium-term rental assistance or to cover up to 6 months of back-rent and late fees. The funds may also be used to stabilize households by helping to address the cost of security deposits and utility deposits and payments, among other expenses.
Children and families struggling to make ends meet need more than just a one-time payment. Families need a larger and recurring monthly payment of $2,000 a month for every adult and child for the duration of the economic downturn. Families with children are disproportionately feeling the effects of this crisis. We all benefit when children and their families are fully supported.
As Congress looks to its next round of legislation we must cast a wider net and help everyone with extraordinary expenses. It makes sense to extend relief to keep businesses afloat and help keep wages flowing, and it is essential to fund state and local governments. At the same time, we must also keep families afloat through recurring direct payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and food/housing aid to those in need.
The federal response to the COVID-19 crisis, including the Families First and the CARES Acts, left many low- and moderate-income immigrants out of the public health and stimulus policies. This exclusion threatens the well being of immigrants, their families - which include millions of U.S. citizen children - and our communities as a whole. This omission will greatly undermine the nation’s ability to overcome this unprecedented crisis.
While the CARES Act was a strong start, we are deeply concerned that children in mixed-immigration status families (those with both citizen and noncitizen members) have been excluded from critical relief. These children comprise one in four of all children in the United States, and the vast majority are U.S. citizens. It is simply unacceptable to leave them out of the COVID-19 response. Doing so will not only put more children at risk of falling into poverty but also greatly undermine our nation’s ability to overcome this crisis.
Nearly 400 Organizations Call for a Boost in Funding for Needed Services in the Labor-HHS-Education Bill
We believe that the long-term impact of COVID-19 and the outcomes of future pandemics will be catastrophic if we do not provide robust investments through annual appropriations. Therefore, we urge Congress to commit to improving the lives of Americans by significantly boosting the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education bill for FY 2021 to support needed services for the American public.